Sunday, January 22, 2017

How many moments have you wasted?

Me?  I've wasted plenty.  Too many!  Moments spent wondering if this - this right here - is what I want to be doing with my life.

Granted, the 'this right here' has changed definition over the decades.  At one point, it was opening my own day care center.  Another, it was photography.  At the present moment, it's being an author.  But whatever I call it, it boils down to the same thing - not being satisfied with where I am in life.  More importantly, not being satisfied with WHO I am.

Ah...the gotcha moment.  Not being satisfied with who I am.  The only problem is, I'm the one who made this person that occupies my skin.  See my dilemma?

I've decided that I need to put an end to this behavior, this time-wasting, non-productive way of thinking...and living.  I need to appreciate who I am right now and stop worrying about if it's where I should be.  Because if I'm here - it's where I'm meant to be.  I'm meant to experience each moment, good and bad and in-between.  Maybe I'll be led to a new destination and maybe I won't.  But this single moment is all I have that's truly mine so I need to learn to embrace it.

Sheesh.  That last paragraph is full of stuff about what I 'need' to do.  Forget the 'need' part.  I'm doing this!!  I'm changing my mindset - right here, right now.  I'm living each moment for what it is.  Am I meant to be an author for the rest of my life?  No one knows the answer to that question.  Do I want to be an author for the rest of my life?  Maybe.  Yes.  I'm not sure.  Take your pick.  But I'm an author right now.  Might as well enjoy the ride.

I'm through procrastinating my life away.  I may not be the most happening writer out there.  I may not be a trendsetter but who cares?  I write what I like, what's in my soul, and that's enough for me.  Hopefully, it'll be enough for the millions of readers out there, too.  Cause I kinda like where I am at this moment and for the first time in my life, I don't want to think about who I might become.  It's time to love who I am.

Who's with me?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Just say no...

The most destructive question we can ask is "How did she (or he) do it?"

"How did she become a USA Today bestselling author?"  "How is he selling 5000 copies of his book a day?"  "How did they become so successful?"

We need to stop asking these questions.  (And the dozens of others we repeat mantra-like on a daily basis.)  You know why?  It doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter how 'they' did it because they aren't us.  And to be quite frank, they might not know themselves.

Okay, for clarification purposes I'm not suggesting we stop asking questions altogether.  Learning from someone who's been down the same road we're traveling is a gift.  One we should never take lightly.  All of the education in the world doesn't hold a candle to real-life experience, in my opinion.  And listening to other authors' suggestions on the best way to get a Bookbub deal or which cover designers do the best work are worth their weight in gold (or whatever the standard is today).


...we need to stop comparing ourselves to every other author out there.  Because what worked for them won't necessarily work for us.  While we all share a similar vision, the journey (and destination) for each of us will be ours alone.  And that's a good thing.  We're supposed to create our own experiences.  Be responsible for the victories - and mistakes - we make.  And we need to stop beating ourselves up when we discover we're not standing on the same square as that author who just (fill in the blank).

Wondering what we're doing wrong is counter-productive.  It eats at the very soul of who we are, creating doubts where none should exist and crippling our creativity.  And we're the only ones to blame.

I've used possessive pronouns throughout this post because I've spoken to several authors who indulge in this mindset but I'm also able to own these thoughts.  Hell, I might as well charge them rent for as much space as they take up in my head.  I need to stop being self-destructive.  I need to stop worrying about what and how other people do what they do to get where they are.  I need to make this journey my own.
Picture and quote courtesy of Kristine Raymond

So that's about it.  My two cents for the day.  It won't buy you much but maybe, just maybe, it'll help lighten your load.  I wish I could tell you to follow in my footsteps but our feet are different sizes.  You'll have to walk this route on your own.  But when you reach your destination, I'll be waiting with open arms, just as those who went before welcomed me. 

Just remember, instead of asking "How did she/he get there?" ask yourself "How do I get there?"  Carve your own path.  Create your own destiny.

See you at the top!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

I have a new best friend...

Figuratively speaking, that is.  (Not to worry, Monica, you’re safe in all the ways that matter!)

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen my post a few days ago about how I stumbled upon my lost digital voice recorder.  I love this piece of technology for so many reasons, the foremost being that it's handy.  I frequently have ideas pop into my brain without warning and it’s important for me to get them down before they’re lost forever.

You see, my stories are written one line at a time.  I know, I know, how else would I write them?  But entire plots have been formed around one single sentence; a sentence that usually comes to me at the most inopportune time. While driving, or at the doctor's office, or as I'm drifting off to sleep.  You know, those times when paper and pencil aren't handy and I'm miles away from my PC.  (Not literally in the case of sleeping but mentally).

And before you ask, yes, I do have a smartphone with all its fancy voice memo and notepad features.  But by the time I unlock the phone, find the app I need and activate it, I've either gotten a ticket for distracted driving or the thought has evaporated into the beyond.  (To be clear, I've never actually gotten a ticket for distracted driving but the possibility's there if I use my phone).

The cool thing about this recorder is that it's voice-activated.  So when that line which everyone and their brother will be quoting next month hits me, I can preserve it before it's replaced with "I need to pick up ten bags of kitty litter."  No fumbling to unlock anything or blinding myself (and the hubs) with the harsh light of the phone in the middle of the night.  Just a few whispered words and I'm back in dreamland, the beginnings of a new story waiting for me on the nightstand to be spun into gold the next day.

Yes, Diva and I are inseparable now.  Stop laughing.  It's a good name.  Derived from DVR (Digital Voice Recorder).  It sounds much sexier than Olympus (her brand).  I predict we have a long future ahead of us.

Now if only I could find some batteries.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!!

It's going to be a great one - I feel it in my bones.  Actually, what I feel is miserable and achy due to a cold front that's headed our way but that's beside the point.  I've vowed to do my upmost to make this an outstanding year.

Yeah, I know, I can't control life, not even my corner of it.  The only lives I control are those of the characters in my books.  And man, do I have some awesome plot twists in store for them!  But I also have plans for me - for my life.  Plans I can implement no matter what the universe throws at me.

You see, over the years I've learned something.  Well, I've learned lots of things but this particular lesson applies to this post.  I've learned to let go of the outcome.  That's the thing so many of us get hung up on.  I always have.  I thought that by following certain steps, plotting things out in just the right fashion, I had power over the end result.

(**giggle - choke - snort**  Excuse me for a moment while I wipe away my tears of laughter.)

It's been a hard, hard lesson to learn - even harder to accept - but I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THE RESULTS OF MY ACTIONS.

There.  I put it in print so it must be true.  Actually, it is.  I have no say in how things are going to end up.  Basically because I'm not an island of one.  There are other people involved in my processes, whether directly or indirectly.  And illnesses, falling outs, relocations, new employment, bankruptcy, marriage, death, the stock market, gas prices, the rain in Spain, just plain indifference - all of these things affect my end game.  But that doesn't mean I shouldn't try my damndest to make whatever I've working on at that moment be exactly what I want it to be.  Because for all the times my objective is circumvented there will be many more times it's not.  And those are the moments when I shine.

So Happy New Year to all of you.  I hope 2017 brings you everything you wish for and more importantly, everything you work for.

Now where did I put my to-do list?